Evidence released in 1971 San Francisco police
SFPD spokesperson Neville Gittens stands beside a poster
of slain SFPD officer Sgt. John Young who was murdered in cold
during a politcally motivated attack on the Ingleside police station
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
January 26, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The keys to arrests earlier this
week in the 1971 slaying of a San Francisco police sergeant include
a fingerprint found on a cigarette lighter and a match of shotgun
shells from the lost murder weapon.
this week were reluctant to offer details into what prompted
them to refocus their energy on the decades-old investigation
into the death of San Francisco police Sgt. John Young. Eight
former members of the Black Liberation Movement were arrested
According to an affidavit released Thursday, investigators re-examined
a latent fingerprint on the lighter, which was left outside Ingleside
station on the night of the murder, and found that it matched
the fingerprint of Francisco "Cisco" Torres, one of
eight men arrested.
The print had been examined in October of 1971, but there was
no match. In 2003, however, investigators resubmitted the print
to take advantage of new technologies and they made a match.
The original investigator said "when she first examined
the print, she may have failed to make an identification because
the latent appears to be a right slanted print when in fact it
was a left slant," according to the affidavit.
Another piece of evidence that will be used to build the California
attorney general's case is a match in shotgun shells recovered
at the scene of the crime and in the evidence room of the New
Orleans Police Department.
Inspector Joseph Engler wrote in the affidavit that he traveled
to New Orleans in 2004 to recover four shotgun shells, which had
been fired from a gun found in one of the suspect's New Orleans
apartments, and compare it with 15 shells that were left behind
at Ingleside station on the night of Aug. 29, 1971.
Five of the Ingleside station shells matched the four in New
Orleans, and while the murder weapon has mysteriously disappeared,
Engler wrote that the match would help convict nine men.
San Francisco resident Richard Brown, 65; Ray Michael Boudreaux,
64, and Henry "Hank" Watson Jones, 71, both of Altadena,
Calif.; Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony Bottom, 55, both currently
incarcerated in New York; Francisco Torres, 58, of Queens, NY;
and Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City, Fla., have all been charged
with the murder of Young and with conspiracy to murder police
Richard O'Neal, 57, of San Francisco was also arrested on conspiracy
to murder police officers but was not charged as an active participant
in the murder of Young.
Another suspect, Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, has also been
charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and aggravated
assault on a police officer in connection with his participation
in the murder of Young, although his whereabouts is unknown.
The affidavit was signed on Jan. 18 and it also includes several
witness statements that the attorney general's office plans to
use in corroborating the recent evidence.
Both San Francisco men, Brown and O'Neal, are expected to be
arraigned Monday morning in San Francisco Superior Court.
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